Childrens Book Reading Extravaganza 2010: Picture Books # 31-27
We are rounding the bend, friends, rounding the bend and entering the home stretch on this list of Top 100 Picture Books! I say high-fives all around!
This week, at #31 is No David by David Shannon. One of my faves although the space between this little boy’s teeth totally tweaks me out. But, loose teeth (and really teeth in general) have that effect on me.
David is hilarious and you can totally see why this book went all Caldecott times, right? Basically, the whole book depicts a variety of scenes in which David is being super naughty with very simple text…usually along the lines of “No David!” or “No! No! NO!” We’re talking mega-naughty…tracking mud into the house, running down the street naked (guaranteed to get a hearty laugh from your friends), and playing with his food. Eventually, his mom has had enough and sends David to his room. Clearly, he goes bullshit in there too. In the end, David finally cries and his mom gives him a big hug and reminds him that she loves him.
The illustrations in this book are fantastic – David has a very distinct look and the pictures say more than the simple text ever could! I used to use these books to help my friends practice stretching out their description of action (we did it orally or as a Shared Writing). Plus, if you look at the David books collectively, your friends should be able to pick up on a pattern to the stories, giving you the perfect opportunity to discuss author’s craft or looking for trends across a series of books about one character. Clearly best for friends in the lower grades, this book is fabulous.
In position #30 we have a re-appearance by the illustrating genius Eric Carle. (Did you know they have a whole MUSEUM about his fabulousness?? I so need to go to there.) It’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
I don’t think there’s a need to summarize this puppy. It’s a repetitive text which asks a bunch of different animals what they see. With a predictable pattern and strong images, this text is totally perf for your friends who are new to this whole reading thing. I mean, PreK, K and even early first grade friends who are struggling with love this book. I used this in big book form to work on strategies like picture and first sound, using the pattern in a book to help you read and practicing intonation with a question mark. Why, hello, possibilities, you’re looking quite endless today…
Be still my beating childhood heart, #29 is Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig. I. Heart. This. Book. Intensely. Big Mama Mimi is also a huge fan, so you know it’s a must-have for your classroom library.
I think most of you know this story, but to sum it up quickly…Sylvester finds a magic pebble which grants wishes. One day, while picnicking, he is frightened by a lion and wishes he could turn to stone. Poof! Boyfriend is stone. The pebble rolls away (he needs to be holding it for it to work) and therefore, no more wishes. His parents are very upset (natch) and eventually assume he will never come home again. Seasons pass. Then, one day when his parents are picnicking on the very same hill, they set up their lunch on Sylvester!! The dad finds the pebble, puts it on the rock and Poof! Sylvester is back! Can you say, “be careful what you wish for” or what?
This book is fabulous five ways til Tuesday. (Note: I have NO IDEA what that means, just know that this book is BEYOND!) There are some wonderful places to stop and think with your friends, places to try to make connections with your friends and places to discuss the lessons that Sylvester learned with your friends. It is the sort of read aloud that is perf for initiating and practicing the difficult skill of holding a focused whole class conversation that is more than just a smattering of popcorn like ideas that are really all over the place. And YOU KNOW that Big Mama Mimi and I will be sharing this one with Mini Mimi asap.
Oh and #28 is another classic as well. It’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. I mean, haven’t we all felt like Alexander…spilled our coffee, come in to realize all our posters have lost their stick and fallen off the walls, we’ve lost our preps and then AND THEN find out that we need to go to a meeting about nothing after school…c’mon. We’ve all been there.
I’m not sure you all really need a summary for this one either. It is certainly a gem, but definitely not hidden. I mean, Alexander has a bitch of a day…and I think we’ve all been there. His morning sucks, school sucks, after school sucks, his friends suck….suckity suck suck. And in the end, Alexander learns that some days are just like that. (Amen to that, right?)
With black and white drawings and funny text, this book will totally hold your friends’ attention, even if it’s not their first reading. Plus, it is FULL of places for them to practice making text-to-self connections as well as inferring how the character is feeling. So, this is a no brainer.
And, at #27 is The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Another oldy but goody. I had this book, and a bunch of others, in the real tiny form on my shelf for YEARS!
If it’s been awhile since you’ve read this classic…Mrs. Rabbit warns her four children not to wander into Mr. McGregor’s yard. Peter, who is a bit cheeky, goes ahead and hits up Mr. McGregor’s garden for some lettuce when he gets caught! This reminds me of a younger version of myself. My mom (aka Big Mama Mimi) told me not to go in our neighbor’s yard. I then made it my goal to play in said yard and was caught eating strawberries right out of his garden. Cut to me standing in a corner.
Anyhow, it’s a wonderful story with a well drawn sibling rivalry that will be easy for your friends to relate to. (Hello, text-to-self connection, nice to meet you.) Clearly a better choice of read aloud (or independent text) for your small fries. I can even envision a read aloud study of classic children’s texts that, because of their publication date, might not be at the top of your friends’ lists. Or a Beatrix Potter author study = HOT.
My friends, we are half way through August. Some of you are already back at it. Throw a little Bailey’s in your coffee and enjoy the morning – you deserve it!